Day 21 - ANZAC Day
Gallipoli Travel Blog› entry 21 of 42 › view all entries
At 3am the MC for the dawn service jumped behind the microphone, waking everyone up. He did so to inform us that there were still many people on the way to Gallipoli and asked us to accommodate the latecomers by squashing up even more. Yeah, right. Be they fellow ANZACs or not, I don’t think too many of us who arrived the day before were too willing to give up much of the little space we’d secured by lying in the freezing cold all night!! Michelle and I nodded off again. I’d thought we might stay awake the whole night to enjoy all the entertainment provided but a sleepless bus ride to Gallipoli made it all too hard. Even the bitter cold was insufficient to keep us awake.
The dawn service began at about 5:30am and was really well timed, coming to a close just after the sun had risen (although we couldn’t see the rise ourselves, since we were sat beneath the cliffs of ANZAC cove).
It was so cold that most people dare not venture from their sleeping bags for the service. Most of the photos taken of the crowd that morning will show a sea of giant caterpillars staring towards the stage.
The service was extremely moving. Dignitaries from
The dawn service was quite short and whilst the build up to the event was really long, running through the night, no sooner had the MC thanked us for our attendance the huge crowd began to disperse.
Our group decided to wait out the rush, eating a little breakfast and taking our time to pack up our gear. We then had to undertake the mission of finding our bus. Over 200 coaches had ferried everyone to Gallipoli and they were all parked outside ANZAC Cove, parked end-to-end along the one road into the site from the North. Naturally, our coach had to be one of those towards the end of the line, so by the time we’d packed away our sleeping gear and begun the walk back towards ANZAC Cove (through which we had to pass to get to Lone Pine), we’d barely two hours to pass before the start of the memorial service. Two hours was plenty of time but Craig, Rebecca, Michelle and I didn’t do ourselves any favours when we chose to jump on our coach as it drove past.
We made it to Lone Pine with a half hour to spare, so whilst we didn’t miss anything, the only space left for us to sit was at the back of the furthermost stands. Thanks to the two big screens and great sound system set up at the site, this vantage point still afforded us a great view of the proceedings.
The memorial service was much like the dawn service, many of the same dignitaries giving similar speeches, wreath laying, the last post and this time one minutes silence.
After the Australian service at Lone Pine there was a Turkish service at the cemetery for the 57th regiment and then a kiwi service at Chunuck Bair. We decided to give the latter two a miss (as they entailed a long trek and to see them on time we probably would have had to leave the Australian service early). Instead we spent a couple of hours relaxing at Lone Pine, grabbing one of the Turkish staples for lunch “Chicken Kebap” and just enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, which was much needed to thaw our frozen bones from the night before.
Getting everyone back on the bus was a drawn out affair but no one went missing, so we got away at a comparatively early 3pm and our bus driver put his foot down to get us back to